Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Thursday, June 03, 2004


Clarke Successor Watch

Periodically here at Digestible News, we like to check in on the various successors to Richard Clarke's old counter-terrorism post -- only one of whom, Fran Townsend, actually remains at the White House, where her responsibilities include her new post as Homeland Security Advisor, her old post as deputy national security adviser for terrorism, and – evidently – staying out of the news.

In fact, since her promotion/kicking upstairs (who’s to know?)in early May, there has been virtually no mention in the press of her name, until today – when she is briefly & forgettably quoted (under her old title) in coverage of the Saudi crackdown on “charities” funding terrorism, as in this example from the Washington Post.

Why she should remain so invisible, in an adminstration that claims to be so focused on terrorism, remains a puzzle. Perhaps even more amazing is that fact that this Google search (for "Fran Townsend"+counter+terrorism) will quickly lead you back to this very blog (which, unless Sitemeter is off by at least a few decimal places, does not exactly qualify as a major news outlet).

Meanwhile, Gen. Wayne Downing has resurfaced, at least by attribution, in this interview on PBS. Posing a question to Paul Wolfowitz about the Abu Ghraib investigations, PBS’s Margaret Warner asks:

I want to ask you about a couple of rosy scenarios at the end but first let me ask you about the prisoner abuse scandal. You have six investigations ongoing. We reported on that heavily on this program. But they are being criticized the fact that they're all really in house investigations. And let's just look at what Wayne Downing, a retired four-star army general had to say. "I really doubt whether the Defense Department can investigate itself because there's a possibility the secretary himself authorized certain actions. This cries out for an outside commission to investigate." Should Secretary Rumsfeld and will Secretary Rumsfeld recommend to the president that an outside commission, an independent inquiry be established?

Finally, Rand Beers shows up, in an interview blasted around to the Kerry-for-President e-mail list.

Josh Ross: Was it a difficult decision to leave the Bush administration?
Rand Beers: It was an extraordinarily difficult decision for me to make. When you've worked with people for a number of years, you develop a sense of loyalty and camaraderie. But I feel strongly that if you're going to play a part in any government, you have to be one hundred percent committed. When I could not give that kind of commitment because of differences in philosophy and the administration's rush to war, I decided to leave.
After I left, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do, and came to the conclusion that rather than being part of the problem, which I was within the administration, I wanted to be part of the solution.

No further developments, to my knowledge, on the retiring John Gordon.

[Note: the previous entry in this series, with more background & links to all the earlier posts, is located here.]


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